New Delhi: As per earlier decisions of the central government, flight services between the United Kingdom (UK) and India have resumed operations from Friday. The resumed services come amidst strict guidelines issued by the central government to control the spread of the new variant strain.
According to reports, the flight services will continue from January 8 to January 23 during which returnees have to strongly abide by the covid testing protocols issued by the central government. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri stated that a total of 30 flights will be in service per week between the two countries, 15 each for Indian carriers and UK carriers.
Notably, the central government had cancelled all flight services between the two countries from December last week. The cancellation which began on December 23, 2020 was planned with an aim to contain the spread of the new strain SARS Covid 2 virus in India.
While flights from India to the UK had already resumed operations starting January 6, in a situation where the new strain was said to spread "out of control" in the UK, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier urged the Centre to not continue with flight resumptions from January 8. In his appeal, he explained that the covid situation in India has come under control after a long time. But with the huge numbers of incoming passengers from UK, where the new variant originally began, India's covid numbers are surely going to shoot higher.
Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal wrote, "The Centre has decided to lift the ban and start UK flights. In view of the extremely serious situation in UK, I would urge the central government to extend the ban till January 31."
Nonetheless, the Delhi government has advised the new UK returnees to keep a gap of 10 hours between their international UK-India flight and the connecting domestic flight.
Meanwhile, the first flight from the UK to India has already arrived today carrying a total of 256 passengers. The 256 passengers aboard the Air India flight have reportedly reached Indira Gandhi International Airport from London Heathrow Airport.